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W. W. Embree Collection

Waite W. Embree and his father, Elmer E. Embree, preserved most of the historical materials generated by the family’s business and social activities, which the Regional History Center acquired in 1967. Waite, especially, was an avid collector of materials related to the history of DeKalb and the history of railroading. In the absence of an active county historical society, Waite Embree filled a void in DeKalb County with his keen interest in the preservation of the county’s past for many decades. Waite’s interests and foresight makes the Embree Collection one of the most unique in the Center with regard to the documentation of DeKalb and the local area through photographs and postcards. The collection is also particularly strong in the evolution of railroads during the first half of the twentieth century, with focus on those that operated in the Northern Illinois region.

Researchers should note that much of Embree’s postcard collection have been added to the Center’s postcard collection (RC 199), while his war poster collection has been added to the Oversize Collection (RC 200).

For more information about this collection, please see the Center's finding aid or contact

Chicago and Northwestern, La Fox Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, La Fox, Railroads, CNW; LaFox Station; 1948, Kane, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Bridge, West Main Street, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Bridge; Place W. Main St, DeKalb [Illinois]; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1898; [Elvin] Wagner photo? View looking Southeast, DeKalb, Place, Main Street, Economic Development
Powers Road Drag on Pine Street , DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Powers Road Drag; Place Pine Street looking west from 4th [in front of St. Mary's Church], DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1901; Rowley Photo. Note date is no earlier than 1904 when the St. Mary Church Rectory, seen on right edge of photo, was built., DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Equipment, People, Place, Pine Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, Sycamore, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Sycamore, Railroads, Engine No. 484; Type R1; Class 4-6-0; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry.; Place Sycamore, Illinois; Train Way Freight; Date May 24, 1938; Photo No. 1-537; Note number on cab.; Neg No. 355, DeKalb, Industrial, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Bridge
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Title C&NW RR Bridge; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1884; Rowley Photo, DeKalb, Place, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Streator, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Streator, Railroads, Road Chicago, Burlington & Quincy; Place Streator, Ill. Station; Date Sept. 11, 1954; Ritzman Photo; Neg. No. 2513, LaSalle, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
DeKalb Fire Truck & Dept.
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title DeKalb Fire Truck & Dept; Place DeKalb [Illinois] Fire Station [on North 4th Street]; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Standing, #4 - L.L. Smith; Seated Morris Kennedy, Mike McEvoy, DeKalb, Equipment, People, Place, Fourth Street, Economic Development
Birds eye view from Gas Tower, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Birds Eye View from Gas Tower; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1936;[Pleasant Street crosses tracks, State Street dead-ends in foreground], [Dup of 1a0-6 dated 1937], DeKalb, Industrial, Residential, Place, Pleasant Street, State Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, DeKalb, Illinois Yards
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Railroads, Photo No. 1-384; Engine No. 2812; Class J4; Type 2-8-4; Road Chicago and Northwestern Ry; Place DeKalb, Illinois Yards; Train 381; Date August 18, 1935; Remarks Neg No. 243, DeKalb, Equipment, Economic Development
Chicago Great Western, Sycamore, Illinois Crossing
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Sycamore, Railroads, CGW [Chicago Great Western] Engine No. 742; Type 2-8-2; Sycamore Crossing, East of Sycamore; June 1943; No. 742 rebuilt 702 built guide & baldriver (?); Neg. No. 2240 [Note Shell Gas Station on Rt. 64], DeKalb, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Float, NISTC Homecoming Parade
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Float N.I.S.T.C. Homecoming Parade; Place Lincoln Highway [DeKalb, Ill]; Date Oct. 1952, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Lincoln Highway, Entertainment
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Mendota, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Mendota, Railroads, CB&Q; Mendota [Illinois] 1918; Engines; 1-210X, LaSalle, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Princeton, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Princeton, Railroads, Station CB&Q; Place Princeton, IL; Date July 5, 1952; Neg. No. 2479, Bureau, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Waterman, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Waterman, Railroads, Chicago, Burlington & Quincy; Waterman, IL Station; Look[ing] East; 7/16/49; Neg. No. 2570, DeKalb, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Normandy, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Normandy, Railroads, Road Chicago & Northwestern; Place Normandy, Ill; Date Jul 15, 1951; Neg. No. 1249, Bureau, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Looking east from Gas Tanks, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title Looking East from Gas Tanks; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb; Date 1936; Ritzman Photo; [Pleasant Street crosses RR tracks in distance], DeKalb, Industrial, Place, Pleasant Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, Crystal Lake, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Crystal Lake, Railroads, Copy [photograph] by F.R.R[itzman]; Photo No. 1-237x; Engine No. 403; Class A2; Type 4-4-0; Road Chicago & Northwestern Ry; Place Crystal Lake, Illinois; Date 1898; Remarks Chas Kliber (on running board), McHenry, Equipment, People, Economic Development
Manual Arts Building, now Still Hall
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Manual Arts Bldg, Northern Ill State Teachers College, DeKalb, Ill, 1950; Purchased at Lehan Drug Store, DeKalb. [This building was named Still Hall when it was dedicated in 1928, and is its current name], DeKalb, Educational, Place, Education
Post card, East and West Mills, American Steel and Wire
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, East & West Mills, located on North 10th St, DeKalb, DeKalb, Industrial, Place, Tenth Street, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern Railway, Malta, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Malta, Railroads, Photo No. 1-404; Engine No. 911; Class R1; Type 4-6-0; Road C&NW Ry.; Place Malta, Ill; Train Way Frt; Time 12:30P; Date 8/15/36; Remarks Neg No. 394, DeKalb, Equipment, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Creston, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Creston, Railroads, Station Creston, Illinois; C&NW; Now not used. Operator transferred to crossing shanty; 8/22/37, Ogle, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development
Illinois Central Railroad, Freeport, Illinois Station
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Freeport, Railroads, Freeport Station; IC [Illinois Central]; Neg. No. 2504, Stephenson, Commercial/Business, Equipment, Place, Economic Development
Chicago and Northwestern, Malta, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Malta, Railroads, C&NW; Engine No. 1654; Type 4-6-2; Class E; President Harding Funeral Train; DeKalb/Malta [Illinois], 1923, DeKalb, Equipment, Economic Development
West Lincoln Highway from First Street, DeKalb, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Title West Lincoln Highway from 1st St [in Winter]; Place DeKalb, Ill; County DeKalb; Twp DeKalb, DeKalb, Place, Lincoln Highway, Economic Development
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Kings, Illinois
Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University, Kings, Railroads, CB&Q Station, Kings, IL; Apr 14, 1950; Neg. No. 1495, Ogle, Commercial/Business, Place, Economic Development